The rate at which antidepressants are being prescribed to young New Zealanders has risen in the last nine years. The research, by the universities of Auckland and Otago, shows the biggest increase was in the 13-17 year old groups, with an 83 per cent rise.

Over this time, access to specialist mental health services had improved between 2007 and 2015, so the increase in antidepressant dispensing could suggest that young people were getting better mental healthcare.

However, that link could not be confirmed because the authors were unable to access information about what conditions the antidepressants were being prescribed for.

University of Auckland Associate Professor Sarah Hetrick said the findings were encouraging as they were in line with guidelines and indicated that people were getting help. However, more research in this area was needed.

Read the RNZ article here.